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Rock climber survives fall at Nanaimo River

By CHRIS BUSH
March 20, 2012 · 9:28 AM
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Emergency crews tend to a 15-year-old girl who fell while rock climbing near Nanaimo Rivr Monday. / Chris Bush/The News Bulletin

A young rock climber is lucky to have apparently suffered minor injuries when her climbing rope broke and she fell about 10 metres Monday.

The accident happened about 2:30 p.m. when two teenage girls were climbing cliffs above the Nanaimo River near Nanaimo River Terrace.

One of the girls fell when her homemade rope harness broke.

Extension Volunteer Fire Department firefighters, RCMP and Nanaimo Search and Rescue crews, as well as an air ambulance helicopter, were called.

Search and rescue and the air ambulance were stood down when Extension firefighters found the girl had managed to climb up a path to the top of the cliffs and apparently only suffered minor injuries.

Firefighters used a fire truck to transport the girl to B.C. Ambulance paramedics waiting on Nanaimo River Road, where she was checked over and taken by ambulance to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Capt. Jeff Hein estimated the cliff the girl fell from is about 12 metres high.

"She is very lucky to be in the state she's in," Hein said.

Firefighters returned to the scene to retrieve and inspect the girl's rope harness.

Hein said his department responds to about two or three calls annually for accidents at the site, which is popular with recreational rock climbers.

"Rock climbing is dangerous. You're hanging off a cliff," Hein said. "That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. It just means you should take all the proper safety precautions."